The NGO Board of Malawi says most non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Malawi do not submit their annual reports.
This was disclosed during an orientation for Board Chairpersons of NGOs in Lilongwe.
The NGO Board Act of 2001 requires that on an annual basis all NGOs submit audited financial statements, annual return forms and annual technical reports to the NGO Board.
However, in 2020 only 228 out of 643 NGOs complied with requirements representing 35% of compliance by NGOs.
Speaking after the orientation, NGO Board Chairperson of Corporate Service Committee Martha Mkandawire said the orientation was very crucial because the NGO Board act requires all NGOs to submit annual reports but only few NGOs are complying with this and others are failing to do as required.
She noted that failure to submit reports result in the NGO sector falling to meet the set accountability bar against global best practices hence the need for the orientation.
“These NGOs they are supposed to submit reports to the registrar of the NGO Board, those reports that are required they are supposed to submit the audited financial statements, they are supposed to submit the source of funding, they are supposed to submit technical reports on the activities that they have undertaken, they are supposed to submit the return as on trustees all office bearers in their office.
“If there is any change they are supposed to submit that on annual basis, they are also supposed to submit the changes or any amendments to their constitution or any governing document that they are using. Now these requirements are there so that as NGO Board we are supposed to know for instance the soucre of funding, our interest is to monitor if these NGOs in Malawi are complementing the government efforts, we need to know how much each NGO is contributing to the GDP of the Country,” said Mkandawire.
She also noted that as NGO Board they want accountability among NGOs especially on how they are using the funds and where they are getting the funds because NGOs bring a lot of money in the country and it is noted that most NGOs in the country are lacking accountability.
“We can’t just sit without ensuring that the money which comes to the country is really complementing the government efforts. So that is our interest basically to have three areas monitored and well regulated as NGO Board. So we have targeted the NGOs’ Board Chairpersons because these people are very crucial for us because they will be the ones who will be following up whether their management have filed the reports to the NGO Board. Secondly, as Board Chairpersons they are at governance level now at governance they are supposed to know if their NGO is implementing all governance rules like respecting the rule of law. So they are supposed to be on top of things to ensure that those governance laws are being implemented,” said Mkandawire.
Mkandawire also hinted that as NGO Board they will try as much as possible to make sure that all NGOs in Malawi are submitting their annual reports and these are the remaining 73% of NGOs.
“We have 620 NGOs but only 228 are submitting those reports to us. So we are very much interested to make sure that the remaining NGOs are submitting the reports, we want to know where they are submitting the reports because they are not telling us where they are getting their funds, where they are implementing their projects. So, we are very much interested to ensure that the 73% are also complying, our target is that by the end of 2 to 3 years we have like over 90% of NGOs who are complying 100%,” said Mkandawire.
In his remarks, Peter Minjale Board secretely of Tigwirane Manja AIDs Support Organisation from Kasungu district said accountability is very important in NGOs in as far as management of NGOs is concerned.
“As NGOs we need to be accountable considering that as NGOs we are there to uplift government efforts so if at all we are not accountable in whatever we do it’s like we are not accountable to the general public as such we can not help in the development of the country so this forum we are having today it will help us as NGOs to improve so that we meet what is in government plan as well as what our beneficiaries anticipate from us as NGOs.
“So it is indeed crucial to be reminded on the importance of accountability,” said Minjale.